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US stocks edge up, European markets gain after ECB upgrades outlook and unveils stimulus

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NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are edging higher in midday trading, breaking a two-day losing streak, as investors were encouraged by positive earnings news.

Supermarket operator Kroger jumped 5 percent Thursday after reporting income that was ahead of what analysts were looking for. Costco rose 2 percent after its earnings beat estimates.

PHOTO: Traders Christopher Morie, left, and Tommy Kalikas work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, March 5, 2015. U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday, led by gains for utilities and health care companies.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Traders Christopher Morie, left, and Tommy Kalikas work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Thursday, March 5, 2015. U.S. stocks opened higher on Thursday, led by gains for utilities and health care companies. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 43 points, or 0.2 percent, to 18,141 as of 11:45 a.m. Eastern time.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained three points, also 0.2 percent, to 2,102. The Nasdaq composite rose 19 points, or 0.4 percent, to 4,986.

European stocks rose after the European Central Bank upgraded its growth forecast and said its bond-buying stimulus program would start on Monday.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose to 2.13 percent.

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